Most people think that President-elect Barack Obama is meeting -- if not exceeding -- expectations so far, according to a FOX News poll released Thursday.
The poll also finds, however, that 50 percent of Americans think expectations for Obama's presidency are unrealistically high and he won't be able to meet them in the long run. A large 43 percent minority thinks the expectations are realistic and he will live up to them.
More than half of voters (53 percent) think Obama is currently meeting expectations and another 14 percent say he is exceeding them. Few people -- 11 percent -- think the president-elect is falling below expectations. For some 20 percent it is too soon to tell.
For Democrats, 82 percent think Obama is meeting or exceeding expectations, as do 50 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of independents.
In addition, as Obama takes office, 76 percent of voters say they have a favorable opinion of him. For comparison, when George W. Bush took office in 2001 his favorable rating was 58 percent and at the start of his second term it was 53 percent.
Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from January 13 to January 14. The poll has a 3-point error margin.
Mood of America
Americans are optimistic about the country's future and confident the new administration will eventually bring positive change. Right now, however, they are downright bummed out: 79 percent are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country. That's nearly four times as many as say they are satisfied (20 percent).
When asked to think about the country's long-term future, most -- 77 percent -- are optimistic, including 35 percent who say they are "very" optimistic. About one in five Americans (21 percent) are pessimistic about the future of the country.
A large 75 percent majority is very or somewhat confident the Obama administration will be able to make "significant positive change" for the country. And that isn't just because 93 percent of Democrats are certain -- 51 percent of Republicans are confident too.
Confidence in the new administration could come, at least in part, from the fact that a majority of Americans (60 percent) rate quality of the people Obama has selected to be in his cabinet as "excellent" or "good."
Americans are largely united on what they want the new president to focus on when he takes office. Sixty-eight percent say Obama's top priority should be the economy -- no other issue even hits double-digits.
While just under half -- 49 percent -- say they are comfortable with the kinds and number of changes Obama says he wants to make, almost as many -- 41 percent -- are concerned about the proposed changes.
Super Bowl Versus Speeches
When asked to pick the more interesting of two major upcoming events a slim 53 percent majority says the inauguration will be more interesting and 40 percent pick the Super Bowl. That's a fairly substantial shift from the last time the question was asked in 1997 before former President Bill Clinton's second inauguration. At that time 71 percent said the Super Bowl and 20 percent the inauguration.
Blagojevich and Burris
Roland Burris will officially take over the senate seat vacated by Obama this week. Some 25 percent of voters approve of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's pick being allowed to fill the seat, while the majority (60 percent) thinks a special election should have been held instead.
A sizable 68 percent majority of Americans think Blagojevich is guilty of trying to sell Obama's senate seat.
"Bizarre." That's how 56 percent describe Blagojevich's recent actions. Another 19 percent call it "eccentric," and 14 percent say "average."